I’ve been thinking about 20th-century church growth logic.
I graduated from seminary in the 20th century. The church growth strategy that had been implanted in my imagination was similar to most other ministers from the 20th century: ‘When you’re leading a church, focus the congregation on the future of the church, the youth.’
Logically, the first agenda item for a new minister became the employment of a youth minister. And the logic seemed sound back then. After all, for most of human history young people have outnumbered older people. They were the largest market segment.
The Boston Matrix
In the 20th century the Boston Matrix was one of the business tools that some church leaders found helpful as they grew their churches. This matrix allows you to divide ‘your markets’ and your subsequent ‘product offerings’ into four distinct segments.
The two really important segments for churches were the ‘STARS’ where new growth, new products and the future lies and then there are the ‘CASH COWS’. This unfortunate use of a bovine image allows you to identify your ‘established markets’, ones that can be ‘milked’ in order to feed the more exciting outreach into the future, into those ‘STARS’.
I don’t know how widespread the use of the Boston Matrix became but I noticed that it clarified what many churches were doing instinctively. The church needed to focus on the youth and get the older folk (read: people in the second half of life) to give their all to ensure that young people came, stayed and brought in their parents. The future of the church was young people in families, or so we were told.
Two Americans, the editor of The Journal of Youth Ministry, Thomas Bergler and Professor of Youth and Family Ministry, Andrew Root, have helped 21st century churches to see the unhealthy trajectory of this strategy as it worked.…(to read more click here)
Ian Buchanan is Director of Marketing and Communications for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society.
A survey asking for your experience of older people’s ministry in your church can be found at www.pilgrimsfriend.org.uk
We live in a shallow world of internet ‘friendships’.
In contrast to this, the London City Mission perseveres with the long-term commitment and depth of relationships that we find described in the Bible.
Jesus was ready to take the role of a servant, washing the feet of those he ministered to. Paul writes about his relationship as a ‘nursing mother… sharing not only the gospel of God but our own self’. The relationships we see between Jesus and the disciples or Paul and the Thessalonians are a challenge to all Christians. We are called to avoid seeing people as ‘ministry projects’ and instead we should form genuine, loving, friendships.
At the heart of London City Mission is the idea that the same person goes to the same people regularly, to become their friend for Jesus’s sake. Someone once asked a previous training director how we start conversations during our regular door-to-door visits. His response is informative:….(to read more click here)
Graham Miller is the chief executive of London City Mission.
The Life and Work of a 19th Century
By Stanley E. Porter
Bloomsbury. 200 pages. £16.99
ISBN 978 0 567 658 029
The name ‘Constantine Tischendorf’ is unfamiliar to most British evangelicals, and one suspects that a biography about a man whose most famous achievement was the discovery of a fourth-century manuscript would not seem the most exciting story, at least compared to a biography about a Christian MP who freed the slaves (William Wilberforce), or an evangelist who led multitudes to Christ (George Whiteﬁeld) or a pioneer missionary (such as William Carey).
Neither was Tischendorf a kind of evangelical ‘Indiana Jones’, battling evil men and ancient trap-doors to recover some priceless ancient artefact. However, his story is important, not least because what he did and later wrote is even more relevant today than at its original publication, as we face attacks upon the integrity of the Bible from atheist and especially Islamic propagandists, the latter at ground level in schools, colleges and on the streets.
Porter is Professor of New Testament at McMaster Divinity College, Canada, and is obviously also an able and popular writer. The book is admirably lucid, accessible and engrossing. The author is doubtless aware of how such a topic, dealing with admittedly technical issues, can be a great turn-off for the average reader and he has managed to present the story in such a way as to grip the layman.
Apart from the bibliography in Part III, the book is divided into two main sections, the first part looking at Tischendorf’s life, then his work, and the second part being a re-publication of Tischendorf’s seminal work When Were Our Gospels Written? Such is the strength of this work in terms of continued usefulness that Porter has only added… (to read more click here)
Dr Anthony McRoy, scholar in the field of Islamic Studies
‘Whether he wrote “Same sex marriage is not biblical”, or whether he refrained from writing it, made no difference.
‘The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed – would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper – the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed for ever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.’ (George Orwell, 1984, updated).
A British Values monitor, part of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy, said in mid-September that voicing criticism of homosexuality ‘might be breaking the law’.
Polly Harrow said people can believe homosexuality is wrong in their heads, but speaking it out loud could be illegal.
Harrow, Head of Safeguarding and Prevent at Kirklees College in Huddersfield, made the comments on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in a report on the Government’s counter-extremism policy.
Harrow was asked by the BBC’s Sima Kotecha whether a Muslim who believes that homosexuality is wrong should be accepted. She replied: ‘If that’s what you think and that’s what you believe and you want to hold that in your head, that is your business and your right. But bear in mind that if you speak it out loud you might be breaking the law.’
Harrow has the task of promoting British Values in the college in Huddersfield. She will raise any concerns about students and refer them to police if necessary.
She says that the British Values strategy is seeking ‘not just tolerance but acceptance of difference and of others’.
The college has received funding for her to carry out the work because of Government concerns over pupils being pulled into terrorism.
Harrow’s comments clash with… (click here to read more)
Christian Institute/The Daily Telegraph/en
A couple accused of child abuse had the charges against them dropped. They had taken their 6-week old baby to hospital worried about blood in the child’s mouth. Medical staff spotted what seemed to be bruises on the baby and X-rays appeared to show fractures. The couple were indicted. For three years they maintained their innocence. On 7 October, with the prosecution’s medical evidence proving consistent with rickets rather than violence, they were declared innocent.
However, meanwhile the local authorities had facilitated the baby’s adoption.
The couple, understandably, want their baby back. But legal experts believe it is extremely unlikely that such an appeal against the adoption would be successful. A Surrey County Council spokesperson said: ‘With any case like this we only have one thing in mind and that’s the welfare of the child.’ Imagine that. You take your baby to hospital out of parental concern and you end up having your child taken away from you.
But here’s the real sadness of the situation……(to read more click here)
Here are a handful of news-bites included in the November issue of en. Please use these articles to spur your prayers, personally or in regular prayer meetings, as we pray for persecuted Christians worldwide.
An Egyptian Christian who reported attacks against churches is still behind bars after other journalists were pardoned in September.
France: help refugees
Evangelical churches in France are developing a co-ordinated approach to the refugee crisis in Calais and other French cities, it was reported in September.
World: 288 a day
There is a Christian martyred every ﬁve minutes according to a religious freedom watchdog reporting in late September.